The ‘Be More Like China Act’ Is Not the Answer for Saving America
Senator Young is not opposing China; he is emulating China and its socialist, centrally planned, state-run economy.
Let’s begin with Save America, Kill the Bill. In this case, though, it’s not “BBB” we’re talking about — it’s a downsized big-government, socialist bill called the Competes Act.
This one isn’t a $5 trillion measure, but it is $350 billion coming out of the House following $250 billion out of the Senate that will move to conference.
It would be a terrible waste of taxpayer money for industrial policies, corporate subsidies, more green new deal spending, more unionization, and more central planning and control by the federal government in Washington, D.C.
This bill has nothing to do with competing with China. In fact, the trade part of the bill would actually undermine President Trump’s phase-one China Trade Deal.
Now, let’s look at a brief exchange between my pal David Asman and Senator Young earlier today on Fox Business:
Mr. Asman: I’d say kill the bill, as Larry Kudlow would.
Mr. Young: Well, … we’re going to listen.
Mr. Asman: I don’t think there is any way you can get the pork out of this one. Senator, we got it to leave it at that.
Mr. Young: Xi Jinping is lobbying against the legislation, so you and he seemed to see eye to eye on this.
Mr. Asman: Woah. Excuse me, senator. No, I just don’t like corporate welfare.
So, the senator lashes out at Mr. Asman, saying he and the Chinese president are allied against the bill. No, they’re not. And it’s a cheap shot by Mr. Young, a former naval officer who ought to know better.
What this bill really should be called is the “Be More Like China Act.” Mr. Young is not opposing China; he is emulating China and its socialist, centrally planned, state-run economy.
Mr. Young apparently spent time in business, but he couldn’t have learned much. By the way, 17 other Republicans are in the same boat.
Here’s a quick story: President Biden was in the White House today, promoting a new Intel plant near Columbus, Ohio. He said, “Well, if we pass this Competes Act, we’ll have much more like this.”
But, but, but, but.
Intel invested $20 billion of its own money to build the plant and create the high-paying jobs, and good for them. What’s more, they say they’re going to park up to $100 billion in total over the coming years to complete the project. That’s good.
My point, though, is that this was Intel’s private investment. No government subsidies. There may have been some state and local help, but that’s different than a $50 billion federal subsidy or a $350 billion federal spending bill.
Kelvin Droegemeirer, a former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and a former head of the National Science Foundation, tells me that the American private sector has invested $200 billion in the semiconductor space, and it’s not over yet.
So, we don’t need $50 billion from Uncle Sam with countless woke and racial strings attached.
Nor do we need $45 billion for another Energy Department slush fund.
Nor do we need another $78 billion for the National Science Foundation, which has an $8 billion budget presently and couldn’t possibly process something 10 times that amount.
Nor do we need another $45 billion for the Commerce Department to finance something called critical goods — whatever that is.
Nor do we need another $3 billion for solar manufacturing. Anyone remember Solyndra?
Nor do we need $8 billion going to the U.N. green climate fund.
If Senator Young can tell me how these massive federal subsidies — controlled by government bureaucrats made up mostly of former egghead professors who have never worked a day in their life in the private sector — have to do with competition, I welcome him to explain it to me.
By the way, speaking of Intel and private investment, the company is also building two factories in Arizona for $20 billion. Taiwan Semiconductor is also building in Arizona, for $12 billion, and chipmaker Samsung is building in Texas for $17 billion. They may have some state and local help, but it’s predominantly private money and there is no federal subsidy.
because if it pays to invest, then capital will shift to take advantage of high market returns.
That’s called free-enterprise capitalism, Mr. Young.
Now, let’s think about increasing these market returns instead of $350 billion in federal money, which by the way is not paid for by tax hikes or spending cuts — and I don’t want to pay for anything anyway.
We could make the Trump tax cuts permanent, because they start to expire in the next few years. Those tax cuts made America super-competitive, and were a great success for working families and minority groups.
We could stop the Biden regulatory and tax assault on American businesses. That would make us more competitive.
We could think of America first as the most hospitable investment environment in the world. That would allow us to win the global race for capital and production. Just a thought.
But $350 billion so we can be central planners and state-run economy controllers just like China is not the answer, Senator Young. And, as always, in the spirit of civility, respect, and open dialogue — not to speak of First Amendment freedom of speech — you are invited to discuss your bill with me any time. A bill I aim to kill. And Save America.
From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox Business News.